The difference between agency vs freelance/contract writing
My journey as a copywriter has had a lot of ups and downs. For two years, I worked primarily as a contract/freelance writer for different companies, under different assignments in many various industries, and usually working for multiple clients at a time. Some assignments lasted close to a year while others only lasted a few months.
For the most part, it was a lot of fun to work as a freelance writer because of the flexibility and “being my own boss”, but there are equally a lot of struggles working freelance in any capacity. Now, being hired by SocialSurge marketing agency has been a whole new experience.
Working for a marketing agency and working as a freelance writer has its own unique set of challenges and benefits. Anyone can be successful in either position, but let me explain the biggest differences of working for a marketing agency so far.
Differences Between Agency vs Freelance
Most marketing agencies have a steady stream of clients and projects, providing employees with a sense of stability and security. As a freelancer, on the other hand, I had to continuously search for new clients and projects to maintain a consistent income. Consistent work is something that was not always guaranteed because contract work only lasts so long, and could often end earlier than expected.
Working with a team of like-minded professionals fosters a culture of collaboration. While working at SocialSurge, I’ve noticed how team members are encouraged to work together, share ideas, and generally support each other in any way they can.
This has made all the difference in many aspects of my copywriting career. Not only is it a great opportunity to collaborate with others on my current projects, but it has been a blast learning from others in the industry outside of the copywriting realm. We also do regular team-building activities, which as a freelancer, I didn’t have the same level of collaboration and mostly had to rely on my own skills.
Additionally, collaboration is an important aspect of marketing agencies, as it allows team members to work together effectively to achieve common goals and deliver successful marketing campaigns. When I was working on my own, I was under my own timelines and management, but as a team, it pushes for each member to collaborate consistently.
One of the biggest things I have learned from working in both roles is the importance of time management and organization. Whether I am working on my own or as part of a team, it is important to prioritize tasks and manage my time effectively to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work. At SocialSurge, I have had to learn better time management efficiency so that everyone involved in the production, editing, SEO, and approval of the project receives it within a timely manner.
Being efficient at consistently finishing work is important in any job, but here at an agency where multiple people or teams need to pass along the project, it is even more important to stay on top of work. The biggest thing this has taught me is that, as much as I love to make sure my work is 110% perfect, that isn’t necessary for a draft and can often slow down the process.
I’m not saying I abandon all grammar and editing skills, I just know to produce my best work, that I should be less of a perfectionist so that work can get passed along and then I can go back and fix anything before it gets published.
Resources & Support
Marketing agencies usually have access to a wide range of resources and support systems, such as research and data analysis tools, design software, and project management systems. These resources can help employees produce high-quality work and be more efficient. As a freelancer, I would be at the disposal of the company and whatever access to resources they had, but most of the time I would have to invest in my own tools or systems.
As for support, I have a few people I can rely on when I am running behind or not feeling well. The support system is fairly strong at a marketing agency; in the freelance world (at least the roles I was previously in) there wasn’t much for support. If I didn’t feel well, due dates may have to be shifted or things may need to get done regardless because there wasn’t another writer that could cover in that time.
Whether you are new to your position or a pro in the industry, professional development is important as an ongoing skill. Marketing agencies often provide opportunities for employees to develop their skills and advance their careers through training and development programs. Freelancers may have to seek out opportunities for professional development and may not have the same level of support.
While working for a marketing agency, I have been encouraged to constantly assess my goals, asked about further interests, and am constantly involved in team training and meetings. Recently, I was put in a role that may require email marketing/copywriting skills which I was not very familiar with. My boss quickly sent me resources like Hubspot and talked me through the process of email copy.
As a freelancer, I would have had to look around for email copywriting resources on my own. There is nothing wrong with the independency of freelancing in this aspect, but it definitely takes a lot of stress away to have knowledgeable professionals to help with all questions or concerns and even help push me to be the best copywriter I can be. I have noticed myself wanting to learn more about writing than ever before.
Most full-time positions offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which is a great difference from working freelance. Freelancers may not have access to these benefits and may have to bear the cost of their healthcare and retirement savings.
Having benefits is an advantage that wasn’t previously at my disposal. I feel one step closer to having full-life security than I did with freelance work.
So What Are My Takeaways?
Overall, working in a marketing agency has provided a sense of stability, collaboration, access to resources and support, professional development opportunities, and benefits that were not fully available to me as a freelancer.
Working for an agency has given me the opportunity to work with a team and learn new skills, but I have less control over my schedule and workload. While working as a freelancer I had flexibility but little to no resources, support, or provided benefits. Needless to say, it has been a full-circle experience to be able to work in both types of positions.
Although I learned a lot working as a freelance writer (that opened the door for me as a professional writer), I can personally say, I prefer to be in an agency position. Any person can be successful in either position, I know freelancers that love their job, but ultimately comes down to personal preference and what works best for an individual’s goals and lifestyle.